Johannes Kepler University by Emily Chafin

Hello! My name is Emily Chafin. I am a Sophomore Data Science major / Mathematics minor at the College. For the Spring 2020 semester I will be studying at Johannes Kepler University in Linz, Austria.

I chose JKU after looking at many options the College offers and narrowing down my academic goals for the semester. I chose to study German as my foreign language at CofC, and I wanted to be able to continue to study the language while abroad. I also knew that I wanted to take major courses while abroad, but I had to be able to take those in English because my German was not strong enough. After looking through the exchange programs that fit my criteria, I found JKU. I went through the program details and took a virtual tour of Linz, the city where the university is based. I fell in love with the city and knew that this was the program for me.

I have a few goals for my time abroad. First, I want to ski. I’ve never been skiing, and I might not get the chance to ski in the Alps ever again, so I want to try it while I have the opportunity. Second, I want to visit some neighboring cities and experience more of Europe. Currently on my list are Prague, Vienna, Munich, and Berlin. I also want to explore some smaller Austrian villages. My third goal is to really get to know Linz. I want to learn the history of the city by exploring and doing, not just by reading on the internet. I want to make the most of the semester that I have here by being in the moment.

Before arriving, I did some research into the history of Austria. Austria was intimately involved in World War II as an annexed state of Nazi Germany. There were concentration camps on Austrian soil, and Mauthausen, one of the major work camps, is only 20 km from Linz. I also investigated the day-to-day lives of Austrian citizens. The public transportation system in Austria is extensive and people living here can do almost anything without a car. Many businesses are closed on Sundays or have very limited hours. Smoking in public is a very common practice, and cigarette machines can be found in many places (including the lobby of my dorm). In 2009, Linz was named the Capital of Culture in Europe. I can’t wait to find out why by being here this semester!

An unexpected part of study abroad—I had to go to Washington DC for the first time to apply for a visa

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